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Published: June 25th 2008
here we are again!
So, from Whitehorse we went south to Skagway, Alaska. Skagway is a sea port for the north. The cat’s meow is that Skagway is “cruise-ship-ville”. The town itself is about 1500 people. It is a bit of a tourist trap with shops galore. With 4 cruise ships docked, it turns into a flurry of tourists (about 3000 tourists per ship is our best guess) carrying bags of stuff.
There are history boards posted at every rest stop along the hwy from Whitehorse to Skagway about the Gold Rush days of 1898. Every tourist info centre has a movie on the gold rush. We learned about “Soapy Smith” and his bandits that ran the town like gangsters until the townspeople kicked him out. (many a movie with those crooked sheriffs).
The Ferry ride from Skagway to Haines Alaska was stunning. Huge mountains jutting up from the waters, helicopters everywhere (tours from Skagway)...
Once in Haines, Alaska where there were no cruisers and very laid back small town folk, we enjoyed 2 nice sunny days doing hikes. We hiked through a temperate rainforest onto a beach where the adjacent meadow was blossoming with every summer flower.
Sam Mcgee's Cabin
transported to the museum in Whitehorse, Yukon
The next day we hiked up Mount Riley. A steep climb with necessary conversation to ward off grizzly bear confrontations. At the top was a most spectacular view! As you spun around at the top there were snow peaked mountains, glaciers, and fjords in every direction.
After an ice cream treat and shower, we headed north on the Haines Hwy back through BC, then the Yukon to Haines Junction (you will only understand this part with a map in hand!). On our journey we saw a grizzly bear on the side of the road who quickly ran off when we drove by. The views on the Haines hwy are even more spectacular than ever!!! That’s right! More beautiful mountains, hills, some subarctic sections in the elevations...wow! And hardly any traffic.
We were going to stay at a campsite called the “Million Dollar Falls” but it was closed. But low and behold! Another Camp D and T nearby! cool! The river was lovely, the sun shone until close to midnight. In the morning Dave cycled into the closed park to check it out. Apparently there was a huge gold find in the area near the waterfalls, hence the name.
This would explain the gold sparkles everywhere in the sand near the river.
This brings us to June 21st! Summer Solstice! and the big event on the very same Haines Hwy we were on...the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay. We had to stay at a rest stop while volunteers set up and closed part of the highway. We watched the cyclists go by and chatted with the volunteers. We were hoping to see Jillian go by, but it turns out she was starting the relay at another stop. Good to see Todd again as he stopped to say a quick hello in his camper. We found out why the campsite was closed. Apparently a grizzly was on a killing spree, feeding its carnivorous cravings (and Dave biked into the park!!!??? and happened to see a moose carcass)
We continued on and stopped in at Kathleen Lake for a nice paddle in the canoe. The water was so clear that we could probably see 50 feet below.
Our highlight thus far was on the next day. We hiked a couple of nice trails in Kluane National Park. Then.....from Haines Junction airport we took a plane tour into the Kluane
laundry at Carcross, Yukon
Icefields. Mountains, rivers, glaciers, ice sheets... The view was absolutely gorgeous. We could see Mount Logan in the distance (tallest in Canada). Lowell Glacier was breaking off pieces of ice into the lake below and clouds hung over a few peaks here and there adding misty effects. The spruce bark beetle has really been an agent of change as we saw most forests were (~90%) all grey-purple due to the dead trees. This will evolve the ecosystem in different positive ways just like forest fires rejuvenate old forests.
We have made some good miles due to rain, and we are now in Fairbanks, Alaska with the midnight sun! Dave has no problem sleeping in sunlight. I on the other hand must wear my toque over my eyes or wear those fancy eye shields like Ruben Kincade on the Partridge Family.
Well, we are off to enjoy the sunny day in Fairbanks! tata for now!
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